Current Issues with the Building Infrastructure/Operations

There are Americans with Disability Act issues and asbestos problems. Much of the library’s infrastructure – heating and ventilating, system lighting, electrical wiring, elevators,windows, etc. – has aged, is inefficient, and does not meet current code. All of these systems are past their life expectancies, are difficult and expensive to maintain and repair, and many are causing safety and health problems.

Additionally, the Central Library was designed before the Internet, before computers, before music CDs, video game and DVDs, before coffee shops in book stores, before libraries were considered community centers, before early childhood education was known to be essential in child development.

At the same time, the layout of the library’s operations, the aesthetics, the space allowed to books and other items in the library’s collection, the service desks, the signage, the workflow, the furnishings, the welcoming atmosphere of the Central Library also needs to be renovated and updated for the future.

  • The library’s HVAC system no longer allows for any humidification and only limited dehumidifying, which is disastrous to the rare old maps and local history materials that the library owns.
  • Asbestos needs to be removed.
  • Two public elevators, original to the building, are not ADA compliant, and have non-code compliant single-walled hydraulic cylinders. If these 40 year old cylinders leak hydraulic oil, it will contaminate the ground water system. In addition, the elevators operate on a very old relay-switch system and are frequently out-of-order. Replacement parts for the relay-switch have been cannibalized from other non-operational systems in the building.
  • Current bathrooms are not ADA compliant, nor were they constructed with the security measures that are needed. Windows in some toilets now intrude on privacy.
  • Stairways, handrails, door hardware, and door frame clearances all need to be replaced or upgraded to meet ADA compliance.
  • The main circuit breaker does not reset. Because of the safety concerns, this has been investigated; however, due to building codes, it cannot be upgraded without major construction. If it fails, the repairs will cost in excess of $10,000 and the library will be without electrical power for days or possibly weeks.
  • A transfer switch for electrical loads needs to be installed.
  • Plumbing does not meet ADA code. In addition, the sewage lines may be insufficient for the number of people who currently use the library.
  • Ceiling tiles have asbestos content; and the tiles limit and partially block the access to pipes, wiring, ducts, coils, etc., above the ceiling. Some ceilings are not constructed with tiles and areas above are completely inaccessible.
  • Data lines and switches are centralized in an unprotected, very large, open area.
  • Lighting is very inefficient and costly. It is difficult to re-lamp in many locations because replacement lamps are difficult to find due to the age and size of the lighting fixtures,
  • The nine air handlers (some of which are two-stories in height and the width of the building) are energy inefficient. The insulation inside the handlers is literally flaking off and clogging the coils, fans and duct work. There is corrosion on the main drain pans.
  • The dampers, filter assemblies, coils and fans are all original and 40 years old. Some units have holes. There are no duct smoke detectors which are needed to comply with current code.
  • The HVAC system is a constant volume system designed to run both the boilers and chiller all year long which is extremely inefficient and very noisy, making it difficult to concentrate in many areas.
  • While the original building duct systems were well constructed, some duct work has been damaged and there is no duct insulation outside of the mechanical rooms.
  • Exhaust fumes from the Bookmobile garage migrate to many areas of the library building.
  • Window panes are buckling; this is a safety issue.
  • The glazing on the original windows is now providing low to no insulation value and adds to the annual energy costs for heating and cooling the building. Windows should be replaced.
  • Overall building envelope is poorly insulated, resulting in high energy costs.
  • Pipes throughout the building are corroding and leaking. Multiple fittings in the roof drain system have rusted through within the last 18 months and leaked on computers and books. There are dozens more of these fittings and they are expected to continue to fail.